Mental health therapy – what you can do if the waiting list is too long

Suicide Prevention Day helpline feature on Title Sussex Magazine

Whilst mental health awareness is heading the right way, the care and treatment needed can often be months away on a waiting list. Carly Pepperell looks at ways we can get immediate help, when we actually really need it

Discussing your mental health is now way more acceptable than it used to be. Which is a yay. But once you’re in the right headspace, and finally pluck up the courage to approach your GP, it’s often the case that you find yourself waiting months just for your first appointment. And then maybe the moment has passed – in more ways than one.

Paying for treatment is an option but if you’re waiting for an NHS appointment, what help is available for you in the shorter term, getting you the help you need, WHEN you need it? And how can you help others if you’re worried about them too?


You’re not alone. 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year and nearly 3.3 people out of 100 suffer from depression. Often it can take months for them to pluck up the courage to see a doctor, only to be put on a waiting list to see a mental health specialist that could take months.

The best advice is to talk to someone, and not isolate yourself. But that isn’t always easy.

  • Almost 6 people out of every 100 suffer from generalised anxiety disorder
  • 7.3 people out of 100 have self-harmed
  • In the UK last year, 6,507 people took their lives
  • 84 men take their own lives each week
  • 26% of homeless people in the UK cited mental health problems as their reason for homelessness


It might not be you that you’re worried about. But how can you help someone else, and how do you know what to look for? If you feel that somebody close to you may be suffering with depression, you can look for certain signs. You may notice the following:

  • They avoid social events or activities
  • A dramatic difference in their weight, gaining or losing
  • They have difficulty sleeping or sleep too much
  • They talk and move more slowly or quickly than usual
  • They complain about physical aches and pains with no cause
  • They suffer from memory loss
  • They lose interest in things they usually enjoy
  • They become more withdrawn than usual, and make less attempts to stay in contact
  • They lose concentration
  • They start to become reckless with their behaviour, e.g. drinking more, gambling, and wasting money

If you think someone close to you may be suffering, reach out and let them know you’re there, and that there are help options. Offer them helpline numbers, or offer to go to see the doctor with them. Let them know that they are not alone. Sometimes just sitting and listening can make a huge difference – you can’t fix them, but you can be there.

Supporting friends who are depressed feature on Title Sussex Magazine


Organisations in Sussex and Hampshire have urged people to become SAFE. This initiative has been launched with the aim to make more people aware (for a few examples, have a look at what we found HERE).

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has made its SAFE information cards free to download across its social media platforms and website – you can find the link to that HERE. The wallet-sized cards contain simple information about how to help somebody who is suffering from a mental health crisis. It includes numbers, websites and free apps which provide assistance in where and how to access support and information for those who need it.


Whether it’s you that needs some help or someone you know, you might not have the time to wait for help on a waiting list. But there are other options that can give you support in the short term, helping you through crisis.

Sussex Mental Health Helpline: 24/7
Call: 0300 5000 101

Mental Health Rapid Response Service 24/7
0300 304 0078

Samaritans: 24/7
Call: 116 123

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) for men: 5pm-midnight
Call: 0800 58 58 58
Or visit their online webchat service

PAPYRUS for under 35s: 10am-10pm weekdays, 2pm-10pm on weekends
Call: 0800 068 44
Text: 07786 209697

NHS non-emergency: 24/7
Call: 111

About Carly Pepperell
Carly gets to do everything under the sun at TM including writing, editing, taking photos, creating stories, and swanning around at launches. She can down a glass of Prosecco without pausing for breath, and aims to be the youngest Pulitzer winner ever.